North Carolina Economic Development Guide

2012

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Governor Q&A What about high-tech companies? We continue to place heavy emphasis on the development of our research-and- development industries that tend to cluster around our universities. At the same time, we are focused on developing our service economy, targeting major corporate offices and operational units that are looking for low-cost, high-quality-of-life locations to help them attract and retain their work- force. As the U.S. economy becomes more service-oriented, strategies that help expand the state's services economy become more and more important. What progress has the state made in increasing defense contracting? Our aerospace, homeland security and defense sectors are vital and rapidly growing parts of North Carolina's economy. Since 2005, defense spending in the state has increased from about $2.9 billion to $3.6 billion. The military and defense economy has a more than $23 billion economic impact. By 2013, that is expected to grow by almost $3 billion, and military growth in the state could create an additional 49,000 jobs. We must remain focused on growing our military economy and our private-sector defense cluster. I'm working with our local communities to develop long-range strategies to protect and grow their economies and defense-related industries. North Carolina is not only a top business location but a great place to live. Can the state exploit its untapped energy sources and still protect the environment? We need a smart and balanced approach to energy that enables us to grow new jobs, lower costs for families and businesses and reduce our dependence on foreign oil — all while protecting the environment. I will continue to take an unbiased, scientific approach to energy issues. I want North Carolina to become a national leader in the development and production of energy sources, including natural gas, wind and solar. I have lived most of my adult life on the coast, so I 14 North Carolina Economic Development Guide am sensitive to the need to preserve and maintain the natural treasures that are so vital to our tourism industry. With all the effort to get companies to move to or expand in North Carolina, how do you make sure that existing businesses aren't being neglected? Some people would be surprised to find that 60% of the grants we award for expansions go to businesses already in our state. The majority of tax credits are claimed by existing businesses as well. Yes, we need these tools to attract new businesses, but we also need to provide solid incentives to the businesses already here. What about small businesses? We've cut state taxes smaller businesses pay. I've consolidated our small-business assistance centers under the leadership of our first small-business commissioner. I've created state purchasing preferences for small businesses to keep more of our tax dollars in the state and help local businesses grow. We've developed banking alliances and programs to increase lending to small businesses, and I've hounded Washington, D.C., to do more to improve access to capital and credit. More recently, I launched an effort to help small busi- nesses that are delinquent on their state taxes get back on track. Soon we'll be launching an export-assistance program that will help our smaller businesses sell successfully to international markets. What do you think the future will look like for business in North Carolina? I'll take our odds over those of any other state. We are a national model for economic growth and a destination for international business. Our challenge is to preserve that reputation — to stay true to our heritage and not fall backward. We will remain a national leader because we will continue to focus on what has made this state great: job creation, workforce development, education and a commitment to helping all our communities grow and prosper.

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